EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Most of the Giants' injury news this season has been about subtractions, but Darius Slayton is poised to be an important addition in their home game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
The third-year wide receiver is officially listed as questionable on the Giants' injury report. But he sounded very much like a player who expects to be in uniform after missing three games with a hamstring injury.
"I feel good," Slayton said after he was a limited participant in practice. "Just kind of been taking it day by day, trying to come out here and put together a couple of days of practice. I feel good and just getting myself ready for the game."
The Giants could certainly use him. Wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle) have been ruled out of the game, as has running back Saquon Barkley (ankle). Golladay and Barkley will miss a second straight game and Toney his first of the season. In addition to Slayton, three other pass-catchers are questionable: wide receivers Sterling Shepard and John Ross with hamstring injuries and tight end Evan Engram (calf).
"I definitely hate that for my teammates," Slayton said. "I know they want to play. Obviously, I want to have them all out there with me, but the guys that we have that are going to play Sunday are going to step up and make it happen."
Slayton and Shepard were hurt within a few plays of each other in the first half of the Giants' game against Atlanta on Sept. 26.
"I don't know (why that happened), a sniper in the stands or something," Slayton said with a laugh. "I don't know, but it's kind of was what it was."
Shepard returned last week against the Rams and caught a game-high 10 passes for 76 yards. Slayton tested his hamstring before the game but couldn't escape the list of inactive players.
"I did a little workout before the game," Slayton said. "Felt pretty good, but there was still probably a decent amount of risk in playing and trying to play a full four quarters, so just decided to wait another week."
Coach Joe Judge spoke about Slayton's chances before practice.
"He's made progress continuously, he was close last week," Judge said. "We've done some things with him in practice this week. He's made some progress. I think it's fair to say that based on how he comes out of practice today and maybe if there's a workout Sunday morning, we'll know then, but I'm optimistic about it."
Slayton has seven receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown this season. He hopes to begin adding to those totals Sunday because being a spectator for three weeks was no fun.
"It's brutal because you get so used to being out there and playing, especially pregame," Slayton said. "You're used to getting ready, getting warmed up, they've got the music and the hype videos and everything going, your blood gets pumping and then it's like, 'And now I sit.' It's been a good time to reflect though. I got a chance to step back from the game, see the game from a bigger view than just the tunnel vision I have when I'm playing. It's been good and bad in different ways."
If he plays Sunday, it will be all good for the Giants.
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*Engram and Shepard were additions to the injury report. Judge suggested Engram's injury wasn't serious. Engram missed the season's first two games with a calf injury.
"We've got to put every little thing on the injury report," Judge said. "A lot of things get thrown on there, but he'll be out there today. … It's just normal nicks and bumps coming off some games. I think it's a little aggravated in practice from the games. Yesterday was a day we had to limit him a little bit."
*Judge was asked if Shepard experienced a setback.
"I'm not going into any specifics of it in terms of anything from anything previous," Judge said. "It is what it is right now. We'll kind of move him around and see where he's at today. Again, some things that kind of accumulated throughout the course of a season. We'll see where he's at going into the game."
*Defensive tackle Danny Shelton is doubtful with a pec injury he suffered last week.
*With several receivers and Barkley sidelined or affected by injuries, Judge was asked if the Giants need to get the tight ends – Engram, Kyle Rudolph, and Kaden Smith – more involved in the passing game.
"They're already a key part of what we plan every week," Judge said. "They really are already. In terms of trying to get more out of someone because of somebody else, like I'll defer back right now to the skill players we're going to have available. I have a lot of confidence in them, and they've got to step up and they have to make plays. In addition, our tight ends obviously have to step up as well, as do our running backs. I don't think you go into a game and say, 'OK, we don't have so and so available, now this position group has to carry the load.' That's not realistic because what happens is the opponent knows that as well. They may look at your injury report or kind of see your inactives on game day and say, 'OK, they don't have A, B, or C, we're going to focus on this group right here and really take them away.' Well, then the other groups have got to step up and make plays as well.
"Going back to what I said a second ago, you've got to go ahead and take the profit, keep moving the ball, be productive and be consistent within a game. You can't lean on any one player or any one position group. You've got to make sure everybody steps up and does their job."